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Diplomacy in Action

18th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention On Climate Change (COP-18)

Reta Jo Lewis
Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs 
U.S. Center
Doha, Qatar
December 7, 2012


Thank you for that kind introduction.

Good evening. It is a pleasure to be here with all of you as we conclude the last panel of the day at the U.S. Center 2012 at Doha by hosting a panel on:

o Actions at the Local Level: Integrating Energy, Climate, and Economic Development

I would like to thank panelists Michael McCormick from the State of California, Maggie Comstock from U.S. Green Building Alliance and Tom Peterson from Climate Change Strategies for joining us today for this exciting discussion.

Also, I would like to congratulate the Qatar Government for a great job hosting us for this conference, and to recognize the city of Doha.

This panel will focus on fostering discussion from our experts around the role of local leaders in combating climate change while promoting economic development at the subnational level.

I serve in a unique position at the Department of State, as Secretary Clinton’s Special Representatives for Global Intergovernmental Affairs. Secretary Clinton has brought a new dimension of diplomacy as part of 21st Century Statecraft. Foreign policy and diplomacy go beyond nation to nation, and, therefore, we at the Department of State must focus on engaging globally our subnational state and local stakeholders.

We are committed to this focus.

Post Copenhagen, the Office of the Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs has:

o Hosted over four installments of the Global Engagement Series where the Department of State has engaged state and local leaders and the organizations that represent their interests;

o Hosted three state and local panels at the U.S. Center which reiterate our commitment for engaging state and local leaders during COP-16 in Cancun, Mexico, COP-17 in Durban, South Africa and now COP-18 in Doha, Qatar.

o Participated in ICLEI, C40, R20 events and on panels with numerous other international associations dedicated to state and local government;

o Participated in March in R20 Regions of Climate Action’s "Road to Rio" event focusing on the role of cities;

o Participated in June in Belo Horizonte at ICLEI World Congress 2012;

o At RIO+20 we hosted a panel at the U.S. Center on “Green Growth: A State Perspective”; and

o In October, we presented a discussion in conjunction with UNITAR on sustainable urban development.

We continue to be committed to our partnership organizations and work closely with organizations such as:


o National League of Cities

o U.S. Conference of Mayors

o National Governor’s Association, and

o State Legislators

The Office of Global Intergovrnmental Affairs works to create connections between elected officials from around the world.

These connections are more vital than ever when exploring the intersection between climate change, energy, and economic development. For the first time in human history, most of the world’s population lives in cities. Local government has incredible responsibility and power to solve some of the biggest issues around climate and environment.

We hope this panel will spark dialogue around local action leading climate change. After that -- I know we are excited to take your questions from the audience.


Michael McCormick

Michael serves as an appointee of California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. as the Local and Regional Affairs Policy Advisor and Senior Planner with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR). His focus is at the nexus of local government and state policy, where he works on climate change, sustainability, and resource development and communication issues.

Michael has experience working in academic, local government, and consulting capacities and has been on the boards of several nonprofit organizaions, including those of the Sustainability Academy, the American Planning Association and the Association of Environmental Professionals.

Thomas Peterson

Tom founded the Center for Climate Strategies in 2004 to assist governments and stakeholders with comprehensive climate change strategy development, implementation and consensus building. Since then, The Center for Climate Strategies has led development of 22 state climate action plans, provided technical and policy support to 44 U.S. states and four regions and supported emerging work in the provinces of China and the border states of Mexico. The Center for Climate Strategies has over 40 team members and is widely recognized as the U.S. premiere catalyst for subnational climate policy development, integration, and analysis.

In addition, Tom serves as Adjunct Professor/Teaching Fellow at the Center for Advanced Governmental Studies at Johns Hopkins University, School of Government and Adjunct Professor at George Mason University.

I have had the pleasure to participate in several panel discussions with Tom in the past, including COP-17 in Durban last year and in New York in September at UNITAR Forum on Global Partnerships for Sustainable Development.

Maggie Comstock

At the U.S. Green Building Council, Maggie works on federal and international green building policy, as well as, climate affairs. She offers expertise from extensive time working on environmental policy domestically and abroad and often speaks to empowering cities to be leaders in human development and climate. She is a regular contributor to the U.S. Green Building Council blog as well as the World Bank blogs.

I would like to thank all of our panelists for their contribution and participation.

I hope everyone here findsthis exciting discussion interesting and will keep on talking about the important action at the local level changing global approach to climate change.

If we are going to address this serious issue we need to continue building ties between countries and take what we have discussed here today as a catalyst in climate change energy and driving economic development.

Thank you for your time today.

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